Creativity Through Cookbooks


Creativity finds a multitude of outlets.  With the burgeoning of foodies in our midst, one of these outlets is not just in the places we go to eat out and the tantalizing of taste buds, but the communication of ingredients, recipes, places, spaces and recipes.

I was sitting in St. Paul’s Hospital waiting for my son’s broken leg to be assessed.  My compatriot with the bannock recipe on her bag, was waiting for her Mom. We both needed a diversion from our worry.  Our conversation was not so much about how to make bannock, but our experiences of eating bannock. Her stories were those of childhood, laughter and community while cooking with aunties and friends.  My stories were those of learning and participation in Indigenous culture. The conversation and camaraderie stimulated by the sharing of a recipe.  

At our meeting of the British Columbia Literacy Council just prior to the winter break, our treasurer, Garth Brooks (the literacy guy, not the country singer), presented each council member with their particularly perfect card and the winter edition of Lindt; The Season Celebrating with Chocolate.  What followed was a particularly animated discussion of cookbooks.  Memories stimulated by smells and tastes. The experience of watching family members cook or the shared experiences of cooking with others.  Grand successes like the Yorkshire pudding rising. Abysmal failures like the cheesecake with the brown rubber skin that I made for my friend Dee Kroeker’s birthday.  Party planning with endless discussions of recipes and favorites that emerged year after year, like the toxic blue jello to create the water for the jello boats my kids adored.

The conversation took a turn to the discussion of cookbooks.  Not just finding recipes but the process of the recording of oral and cultural traditions with both adults and children.  The integration of photographs of ingredients, finished creations, places, and people in the process of preparing and enjoying food.  And hence a literacy event for educators emerged.

The conversation will continue on Wednesday, January 22nd at 4:15pm in the Point Grey Secondary School Library.  Kelly Patrick, the school librarian is a grand fan of cookbooks and will be sharing not only her cookbook collection but sharing her process of writing cookbooks.  Other literacy educators will be sharing the process of writing cookbooks with children, connections between travel and cooking, supporting students with accessible text, and inviting your participation in the discussion. 

Please follow the link if you live in the Lower Mainland of Vancouver, British Columbia and would like to join us.


Free Registration:

3 thoughts on “Creativity Through Cookbooks

  1. And not so publicly…my graduate thesis was mainly about narratives of hope and failure in education…and as a continuous textual sidebar I ran recipes on nearly every page to illustrate how important food and cooking is to teachers. Recipes threaded through the text, to be shared at the recess table, to reflect the angst and politics, to deal with emotions, to indulge and assuage. The point to that textual construction was, in fact, to see cooking as a hopeful celebration of an art form people use to connect, sustain and encourage one another, and how teachers use cooking to bond with their school community. I love that you have found a way to connect people so they can actually talk about it! I never could express my ideas or find a way to get others to discuss them other than to write a silly old thesis nobody would ever read! Good on you! Enjoy!



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